European Parliament: Brussels readies for expenses scandal
22 June 2011
"Europe braced for MEPs’ expenses storm," leads The Independent, which explains that the European Parliament is about to release a report on the abuse of parliamentary expenses that it has fought since 2008 to keep secret. The UK daily says that the release follows a decision by the European Court of Justice that there is an "overriding public interest" in making the report public. Partly leaked to The Sunday Times in 2009 and then the subject of a long legal battle, it includes details of payments made by MEPs to unaccredited assistants and the claiming of end-of-year bonuses. "Given the difficulties the EU faces in persuading countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal to accept tough austerity measures,” the Independent points out, “the re-emergence of allegations of misuse of taxpayer funds by MEPs is unlikely to be welcome on the streets of Athens or across the Union.” But the British MEP Chris Davies, who originally leaked the report, says today is an important day for the EU : "Bit by bit the parliament is being brought kicking and screaming towards transparency".